The Media’s Arrogance On Display

The Wall Street Journal has a bitingly satirical piece on the media reaction to the Cheney hunting accident. The idea that Cheney himself wouldn’t personally call Dana Milbank while Mr. Wittington lay bleeding on the field apparently sends the press into fits of apoplexy.

What happened in Texas was an accident. Cheney is an avid hunter, and the law of averages states that sooner or later an accident will occur even with the most safety-conscious hunter. Jeff Greenfield of CNN astutely finds this incident to be a political Rorschach test:

Look, I have never hunted in my life (assuming you don’t count hunting for a parking place in Manhattan). I have no more knowledge of the rules that govern a quail hunt than I do about the topography of Neptune. But the same massive level of ignorance doesn’t seem to be stopping a whole lot of people from explaining why the vice president was innocent, careless, criminally negligent, or homicidal. Similarly, it seems all but impossible to separate your judgment of the White House’s response — perfectly appropriate, sloppy, or an inexcusable attempt at cover-up — from your broader view of the president.

The media’s petulant response to the incident reflects the arrogance of the media today. Their biggest concern is that Dick Cheney didn’t notify them right away, and the first media outlet to be notified was a local paper rather than Dana Milbank. Could the Cheney camp have handled the situation better? Certainly the very last thing that they should have been considering was coordinating the media response, instead they should have been doing what they did, getting help to Wittington and working with local officials to properly investigate the accident and file the necessary reports.

For all the talk of the “political consequences” of this terrible event, the fallout will likely fall more on the media’s overreaction rather than Cheney’s momentary lapse in gun safety. The way in which the media has reacted with predictable hysteria explains why the last JFK Center survey shows the media as the most distrusted actor in American society today. With all the important and momentous events in the world, the media’s fixation on Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident indicates how far out of whack their priorities are.

4 thoughts on “The Media’s Arrogance On Display

  1. While certain elements of the mainstream media have overreacted, there is no doubt the way the situation was handled increases the existing public relations incompatence that has marked Dick Cheney’s tenure as VP. He is becoming an increasing liability to the GOP, but I am not sure that he is at all bothered by that or what his image might due to the future of the party.

  2. “What happened in Texas was an accident. Cheney is an avid hunter, and the law of averages states that sooner or later an accident will occur even with the most safety-conscious hunter.”

    And when the hunter doesn’t abide by the most rule of hunting that tells you not to squeeze the trigger until you see what you’re shooting at, it’ll definitely happen SOONER rather than later.

    Why does the liberal media only focus on the bad things that happen on Dick Cheney’s hunting trips. There must be dozens of people who’ve gone hunting with Cheney who haven’t gotten shot in the face. Why don’t we start seeing stories about them!!!!

  3. Cheney’s basically a lame duck. He has every intention of retiring from politics after this Administration, so I don’t see him as having any effect on the GOP as a whole.

    He is appearing on Brit Hume tonight – it will be interesting to see what he has to say…

  4. I’ll agree that there is little substance to this accident as a policy critique, but Cheney’s evasiveness, and the apparent lies about the birdshot only giving Whittington a facial flesh wound, does feed right into the hands of his critics. It’ll be interesting to see if there is any public opinion poll impact at all. It seems unlikely, especially if Cheney is able to get his story straight in the next 24 hours.

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